A vessel, MT Vine and six members of its crew, were on Thursday brought before a Federal High Court, Lagos, over alleged stealing of 1080 metric tons of diesel, Automated Gas Oil (AGO).
Those arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside the vessel were, Okpene Peter, Lateef Akin, Sarumi Evans, Obodo Cosmos, Adams Akeem and Onipede Kayode.
They are facing a four-count-charge bordering on unlawful dealing in petroleum products.
The EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the accused on June 12, conspired and involved in petroleum products without lawful authority.
Oyedepo also alleged that the accused unlawfully stored the said 1080 metric tons of diesel in the vessel.
According to him, the offences contravened Sections 4, 17 and 19(6) of the Petroleum Act. Cap. P. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Each of the accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecutor informed the court that he was ready to commence trial in line with the Section 300 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Laws of the Federation 2004.
Oyedepo, consequently called the first Prosecution Witness, Mr Cajetan Egeerue, an operative of the EFCC.
Egeerue told the court how the Nigerian Navy made a report to the commission about the arrest of the said vessel and six of its crew by the Nigerian Navy.
He said the navy reported that the vessel and its crew were arrested based on intelligence report that the vessel was carrying AGO believed to have been sourced illegally.
The witness said that investigation conducted by the EFCC, in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), revealed that the vessel and its company have no licence.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered that the accused should be remanded in EFCC’s custody.
Aikawa adjourned the case until Oct. 6 for continuation of trial and ruling on the accused’s bail applications.
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